Detroit PE teacher navigates pandemic with charity assist

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Ronda Brodsky, a physical education and health teacher at David Ellis Academy, leads a P.E. class via Zoom from her home in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. Student physical activity has dipped during the pandemic, and schools have struggled to help kids maintain an active lifestyle. Physical education teachers have an extra challenge adapting their classes for remote and/or hybrid learning environments due to the active nature of their curriculum. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

DETROIT – A white board in the David Ellis Academy gymnasium is stuck on the wall.

And in time.

It details the planned activities for physical education classes on March 12, 2020 — the last day Ronda Brodsky taught physical education and health to students at the pre-K through eighth grade public charter school in Detroit.

Like countless educators during the pandemic, Brodsky has had to make the adjustment to instructing her students virtually.

But unlike many of her counterparts, she’s charged with getting children to move — a task made tougher when they are required to be in front of a screen at the same time.

“It was very difficult for me and I know a lot of them, because I’m not one that sits still well,” Brodsky said. “So, to tell me to sit in front of a computer now, I’m like, ‘OK, now what am I doing?’”

For assistance, Brodsky turned to CATCH Global Foundation, a charity that provides free teacher training to qualified schools in Michigan.

“Hopefully, we’ll get back to our new evolved normal sometime hopefully next fall or whenever COVID is in the rearview mirror,” said Abby Rose, a program manager with CATCH Global Foundation. “But for now, those P.E. teachers do need some good sort of best practices and strategies.”